Safety: How To Lock Your Bike

I subscribe to the idea that the more valuable your bike is, the more locks you need to protect it. For a 5-minute run in to Starbucks, perhaps all you need is a simple cable lock to deter an opportunistic “grab and run” thief.

However, if you’re parking a bike overnight on a college campus or in a bad part of town, it’s time for the heavy artillery. Even if a thief can’t get a bike, sometimes they’re willing to get parts that are easily removed such as a saddle, or the wheels. Remember, if a part has a quick release to make your life easier, it can make a thief’s life easier as well.

The following tips can help you hold on to your bike:

  • Be sure to run the lock through the frame of the bike, plus at least one wheel if possible. Many people have been disheartened to return to their bikes and discover a front wheel securely locked to a lamppost… and nothing else!

  • Lock your bike in a well-lit, highly traveled area. Thieves like to work where nobody can see them. It’s pretty hard to discreetly cut a cable or U-lock on a crowded street. Campus libraries, student union buildings, restaurants, public transportation terminals, and the ever popular police stations are great locations.

  • Make sure you lock your bike to a secure object. This may sound obvious, but just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, locking your bike to something wimpy may jeopardize your bike’s security. Instead of feeding a cable through one link of a chain link fence, lock it around the post that supports the fence. If you’re locking it to a street sign, make sure the sign post is not embedded in soft ground, or a two piece design that can be unbolted at the base.

  • If you’re parking in a high risk area, consider running a cable through parts that are easily removed such as the wheels or seat and seat post. Once again, look for the quick release items. It may also be worth removing accessories such as a seat bag, computer, heart rate monitor, etc.

  • Register your bike with Emory’s Police Department. An easily identifiable bike can deter theft, as well as make it easier for police to return recovered bikes to the rightful owners.

  • Write down your bike’s serial number, and a copy of the sales receipt in a safe location. These steps are critical if you ever have to identify your bike or provide proof of ownership.

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One Comment

  1. Tom Clark

    Thank you for providing information about safety on locking a bike. Such a very helpful and informative post. Keep posting
    interesting topics here. I’ll definitely look forward to it. Thanks and keep it up!